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Supporting characters and why they are important

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, May 10, 2019

I’ve been ill for two weeks now with the flu. This has meant that progress on our comics has slowed as I try and get back on my feet again (got a couple of pages drawn for the buffer but progress is a snails pace right now). In between all the sleeping I got my hands on a copy of Persona 5, a life stealing video game that has been a great companion whilst I have been trying to dig myself out of this illness.

As you go through the story, you meet many characters and they all play a part in fleshing out the world you live in. Supporting characters are important to stories as they provide guidance, emotional and moral support, information and even comic relief for the protagonist. They are also, at times, the audience insert when the protagonist is larger than life, see every companion for the Doctor in Doctor Who.

They have more freedom to move around the plot than the main protagonist at times providing different perspective and depth to the story. Even an animal can be used as a supporting character, particularly as humans use projection as a way to empathise and understand animal behaviour.

Given that they are present in the story for longer than a comeo, supporting characters can have their own rich backstory and origin which can inform their perspective and actions but, the extent to which that is revealed is often in relation to what is relevant to the protagonist.

At the end of the day, the supporting character is there to support the main character and to provide a richness to the world in which they inhabit. Do you have a supporting cast in your comic? How much of an impact do they have on your main character? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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usedbooks at 5:24PM, May 10, 2019

My cast is a weird sliding scale of minor to major cast members. It's hard to say who is core or primary major, secondary, supporting, or minor recurring. I separate my character bio pages by categories rather than significance. Sometimes characters change in the hierarchy for an arc. (If you wanted, you could try to single out one or two main characters for the big picture, but they might not even be in several arcs in a row.)

Banes at 8:26AM, May 10, 2019

RiP Peter Mayhew, greatest wordless supporting character ever.

Banes at 8:25AM, May 10, 2019

So often the supporting players are more interesting than the heroes - and they can provide a contrast to the MC. My comic is pretty much an ensemble show - I guess the 'supporting characters' are Harley and Wade, who are there less and haven't really had featured stories about them yet.

bravo1102 at 4:47AM, May 10, 2019

Cannon fodder. That way the heroes look more heroic.

Ozoneocean at 12:25AM, May 10, 2019

Sidekicks are a complicated class of character that also overlap with this too 😊

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